White Dog and The White Dog ArmyWonderful World Wednesday
White Dog and the White Dog Army have read the statistics that the poor are doomed to chronically poor nutrition because fresh fruits and vegetables are simply outside most of their means. It amazes and saddens us that a family can eat ultra-processed fast food high in salt, fat and carbohydrates for less than the cost of making a healthy dinner salad. Food pantries offer some assistance but the need far exceeds the donations of these perishables.
Tonight’s Wonderful World story is a homegrown one for us, straight from the little sleepy hamlet of Corrales just to the north of us. It is about a community who have combined their love of gardening with their compassion for those in economic difficulties. Their labor of love is counted in the TONS of produce they have raised and the hundreds of families they have helped. We are SO proud of their efforts...even during our drought they are making miracles grow!
By Good News Network Friday, May 31, 2013
In 2008 Leslie Davis suggested to her mother, a Master Gardener in New Mexico, that in addition to cultivating flowers for worthy causes, she might try growing fresh produce for the community, especially since the recent recession had left so many people unemployed and so many food pantries overburdened.
That discussion five years ago grew like a seed into a thriving bounty of volunteers who harvest thousands of pounds of produce, sometimes in a singe weekend, for people in need.
Led by Penny Davis and dozens of Sandoval County Master Gardeners, the happy band of do-gooders labor to feed their neighbors under the non-profit banner Seed2Need.
80 of them recently gave up their Saturday in the town of Corrales, near Albuquerque, to sit in the dirt planting the seedlings that would grow to fill two lush acres with tomatoes, green chiles, cucumbers, melons, green beans, carrots and zucchini. The project originally started with a small plot of land donated in the neighbor's horse corral but now the group works in a large irrigated field where boy scouts, families and retired folks together can plant and cover 2000 tomato plants in just over two hours. Two weeks later 3500 green chile plants were also dug in.
"It was a demonstration of the power of teamwork," said Penny, who last year saw their labor of love generate a whopping 65,200 pounds of fruit and vegetables, with an estimated market value of $82,000. All of it was donated fresh off the vine to fifteen food assistance programs in Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties.
Leslie Davis recounted with pride the story of a local man who owned an orchard. Last fall he offered 80 pristine trees to Seed2Need for the picking. A group of high school students had to go back three times to finish collecting the 11,000 pounds of flawless apples. Participating food pantries were overwhelmed with apples in the first week. There were so many that the central food bank of New Mexico was called in to distribute to other regional pantries.
"Two to three hours and all of a sudden you have 4000 pounds," Leslie Davis told the Good News Network. "They had to send a huge truck."
To keep down the costs and control quality the Master Gardeners grow their own seedlings in a greenhouse that, of course, was built and assembled by volunteers. With the tending of their skilled hands, the healthy organic plants thrive.
Seed2Need also provides an easy drop point for residents and farmers in late summer looking to unload their excess harvest. Tons of produce were collected this way last year both at the Corrales farmers market and from individual donations.
With the ongoing drought in the Southwest, the cost of produce is likely to climb, making projects like these crucial to those facing food insecurity.
If you would like more information, or would like to help, please visit their website at www.Seed2Need.us or visit the Seed2Need Facebook page.